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“Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.”
— Walt Witman.

Sure, but something changes in the spirit after a loss that propels some to win. For example, Jacob Ingebrigtsen and Femke Bol.

Jacob Ingebrigtsen

Twice in two years at the Eugene and then Budapest World Athletics Championships, Jacob Ingebrigtsen was the favoured to win the 1500-metre event. Both times he was out-kicked to the line by a British runner. In Eugene, it was Jake Wightman, in Budapest, it was Josh Kerr. Expectations were set from his Tokyo Olympic win and due to holding the current European record at 3:27.14. The 22-year-old Norwegian also holds European records in the 2000m, 3000m, and 5000m as well as the world best in the two miles. He is a 13-time Diamond League winner, eight of those in the 1500m — he is a winner.

Sunday, Day 9, the final day of competition at the Budapest World Athletics Championships, Ingebrigtsen won with a kick clocking a 13:11.30 performance. Ingebrigtsen sat at the back of the pack for several laps before inching his way forward. Into the final lap, he was on the shoulder of a familiar foe in Mohamed Katir of Spain. Off the final bend, Katir in the lead was grimacing, Ingebrigtsen’s demeanour was calm. The timing of the pick-off was perfect, right at the line to take gold. Katir recorded a 13:11.44 performance while Kenyan Jacob Krop took third in the time of 13:12.28. Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi, who did some of the early leading finished in eighth place. So competitive was the final that the first eight finishers crossed the line within two seconds of each other.

He was relieved. However, he will take the winning one step further and get himself ready for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games 1500m, where he expects himself to win.

Femke Bol

Femke Bol of the Netherlands was also expected to win. The 400-metre hurdle specialist is the best in the world. She holds the European record at 51.45 seconds. The 23-year-old also holds the national record in the 400m flat race set at 49.44. She holds six other national record or world bests, indoors and outdoors.

During the mixed 4 x 400m relay, she had the lead at the line. However, like her teammate Sifan Hassan, she tripped with the win in hand. However, was disqualified as she let go of the baton in the fall. She was devastated.

Twice, the smooth-running sprinter had a chance at redemption, a few days later on the 24th, she took command of the 400mh and won gold in 51.70. On the final day, as part of the 4 x 400m women’s team, she anchored. Starting off in third place, she hunted down British rival Nicole Yeargin, then the leader Jamaican Stacey Ann Williams and like Ingebrigtsen, caught her right at the line for gold.

So happy for her, her Dutch male and female teammates hugged her while she rested on the track, cheering vociferously. It was a happy ending for both Bol and Ingebrigtsen. She will also have her eyes on mixed relay gold next year in Paris.

Results 5000m

2Mohamed KATIRESP13:11.44
3Jacob KROPKEN13:12.28
4Luis GRIJALVAGUA13:12.50
5Yomif KEJELCHAETH13:12.51
6Hagos GEBRHIWETETH13:12.65
7Mohammed AHMEDCAN13:12.92
8Berihu AREGAWIETH13:12.99
9Jimmy GRESSIERFRA13:17.20
10Ishmael Rokitto KIPKURUIKEN13:21.20
11Mohamed ISMAILDJI13:23.89
12Abdihamid NURUSA13:23.90
13Stewart MCSWEYNAUS13:26.58
14Narve Gilje NORDÅSNOR13:28.73
15Paul CHELIMOUSA13:30.88
16Ouassim OUMAIZESP13:31.99

Results 4 x 400m Relay women

1Netherlands: Eveline SAALBERG, Lieke KLAVER, Cathelijn PEETERS, Femke BOLNED3:20.72 WL
2Jamaica: Candice MCLEOD, Janieve RUSSELL, Nickisha PRYCE, Stacey Ann WILLIAMSJAM3:20.88 SB
3Great Britain & NI: Laviai NIELSEN, Amber ANNING, Ama PIPI, Nicole YEARGINGBR3:21.04 SB
4Canada: Zoe SHERAR, Aiyanna STIVERNE, Kyra CONSTANTINE, Grace KONRADCAN3:22.42 SB
5Belgium: Helena PONETTE, Imke VERVAET, Hanne CLAES, Camille LAUSBEL3:22.84 SB
7Italy: Alice MANGIONE, Anna POLINARI, Alessandra BONORAG, iancarla TREVISANITA3:24.98 NR
8Ireland: Sophie BECKER, Róisín HARRISON, Kelly MCGRORY, Sharlene MAWDSLEYIRL3:27.08
9France: Amandine BROSSIER, Louise MARAVAL, Marjorie VEYSSIERE, Camille SERIFRA3:28.35